Digital technologies: Learning, teaching, leadership and professional development Rosamund Sutherland Graduate School of Education University of Bristol [email protected] A person-plus perspective The environments in which humans live are thick with invented artefacts that are in constant use for structuring activity, for saving mental work, or for avoiding errors or they are adapted creatively almost without notice. These ubiquitous mediating structures that both organise and constrain activity include not only designed objects such as tools, control instruments, and symbolic representations like graphs, diagrams, text, plans and pictures, but people in social relations, as well as features and landmarks in the physical environment” Pea, 1993 p 48 Extension of human capability “Computer-based technologies can be powerful pedagogical tools – not just rich sources of information, but extensions of human capabilities and contexts for social interactions.” Bransford et al, 1999, page 218 ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme Policy for ICT in schools “The mandate for ICT in education has overwhelmingly been interpreted by schools as a licence to acquire equipment” Dale et al, 2004, InterActive Education This has been costly, but in addition, has detracted from an emphasis on teaching and learning. Structure of presentation The potential of digital technologies Learning out-of-school Learning and teaching in schools The role of leadership and professional development Digital technologies An ever expanding resource •productive tool •information resource •communications tool •entertainment device Many young people have access to digital technologies out-of-school Learning as a ‘by-product’ •Engagement with digital technologies inevitably leads to some form of learning. •This learning is usually incidental and non-intentional — not the purpose of the activity. This ‘informal’ learning often overlaps with what schools are trying to teach. Use of digital technologies potentially provides access to new skills (Jenkins, 2009) • to experiment with the surroundings as a • • • • way of problem solving to interpret and construct dynamic models of real world processes to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities, to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal to search for, synthesise and disseminate information Participatory culture “A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits from these forms of participatory culture, including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitide towards intellectual property, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship”. ( Jenkins, p xii) Access to new knowledge? Young people’s use of digital technologies out-of-school relates to their own personal interests. This may or may not include: mathematics, science, languages, music, history, geography…………. Eroding boundaries between out-of-school and in-school • The hard boundaries between out-of-school learning and in-school learning are being eroded by young people’s use of digital technologies? • What are the implications for schooling? The participation gap “The unequal access to the opportunities, experiences, skills and knowledge that will prepare youths for full participation in the world of tomorrow” Jenkins, p xii Creative tension between incidental and intended knowledge • Young people can work with ICT for long periods of time, investigating their own questions and experimenting with ideas. But • There is a creative tension between incidental and intended learning. Learning science influenced by out-of-school game playing Teach: It’s not real, it’s like a simulation.So it’s a bit of a… James: It’s a bit like a game Teach: It is a bit like a game We gotta beat people Jessica I bet you mine isn’t gonna last five minutes. Oh, what’s going on? Where’s he gone? Liam Give him food, he’s going crazy. He is going crazy. He’s getting really thin. Sunita Give him some food! Liam No let him go. When our fish dies Sunita Don’t die! We gotta beat people. Data handling in the primary school Does Every Tube Of Smarties Contain the Same Number of Each Colour? Children worked in pairs They sorted, and counted their smarties. They entered this data into Microsoft Excel, to create frequency charts. BUT!… then the unexpected happened! Learner as teacher How can I use Excel to represent my data? Some children began to use previously developed windows TM experience to explore the tool. They used drag and drop, and wizards to create charts. This became an opportunity to encourage the children to become the knowledgeable other, or expert and teach the class Creating a knowledge world •To enter the world of science you have to learn to speak, to theorise, to act with the tools of science. This is the same for music, for English, for mathematics, for geography, for history…….. •People are central to the creation of these knowledge worlds which are constantly evolving because of the invention of new (increasingly digital) tools. •From this perspective teachers are key architects in building the knowledge-base for an information society. The teacher is central “No educational reform can get off the ground without an adult actively and honestly participating — a teacher willing and prepared to give and share aid to comfort and to scaffold. Learning in its full complexity involves the creation and negotiation of meaning in a larger culture and the teacher is the vicar of the culture at large. You cannot teacher-proof a curriculum any more than you can parent-proof a family”. Bruner 1996 p 84 Leadership and knowledge building One of the major roles of leaders is to create the context (and culture) conducive to sharing and creating knowledge. Much valuable knowledge is tied up in people in the form of so-called tacit knowledge. Capitalising on these individual riches requires a culture that fosters exchange and collaboration. Professional development as sharing knowledge You will remember from school other students preventing you from seeing their answers by placing their arm around their exercise book or exam paper. The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you’ll become stale. Somehow the more you give away the more comes back to you. Ideas are open knowledge. Don’t claim ownership. Professional development •Professional development needs to enable teachers to take risks with digital technologies and learning. •Teachers can work within the constraints of available technology to transform learning. •Language is the master tool. Teachers as enabled practitioners The InterActive Project showed that a successful model for professional development is to create networked communities in which teachers and researchers work in partnership to design and evaluate learning initiatives which use ICT as a tool for learning New models of professional development Such professional development requires people to break out of set roles and relationships in which researchers are traditionally seen as knowledge generators and teachers as knowledge translators or users. A digital tool potentially transforms But People have to learn to use the tool in a transformative way. Some concluding remarks • There is nothing inherent in digital technologies that guarantees the intended learning • The teacher remains key to the successful use of digital technologies for learning in schools • There is a two-way exchange of knowledge between home and school use of digtal technologies that impacts on learning in school. • Effective teaching and learning with digital technologies in schools involves building bridges between ‘incidental’ and ‘intended’ learning.